The Liberace of Baghdad | Chicago Reader

The Liberace of Baghdad

Originally director Sean McAllister planned to make a movie about life in Baghdad immediately after the so-called end of the second gulf war, but when he befriended Samir Peter, the articulate, funny, resolutely chain-smoking title character of this 2004 documentary, he opted instead to train his video camera on him. Once the most popular concert pianist in Iraq, Samir formerly maintained a rather extravagant lifestyle, with a large, lavish house and plenty of booze and women. By the time McAllister finds him, he's holed up in a small room in the basement of a Baghdad hotel, playing nightly for a scattering of mercenaries and military personnel and too afraid to make the trek back to his house each night to join his children. In English and subtitled Arabic. 75 min.


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